Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BURNS, Francis, M. E. bishop, born in Albany, New York, 5 December, 1809 ; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 18 April, 1863. New York was still a slave-state when at five years of age the little Negro Francis Burns was indentured as a servant by his parents, who were so poor that they took this method of reducing expenses. He was converted at the age of fifteen, and soon entered the Lexington Heights academy and studied for the ministry. He obtained a fair education, and soon evinced such talent as a leader among his own people that, after serving as an exhorter and preacher under the direction of the Methodist church, he was appointed to the Liberian mission in 1834, and landed in Monrovia on 18 October His first appointment was as a teacher at Cape Pahnas. He joined the Liberia mission conference in 1838, and from 1840 till 1842 was an assistant on the Bassa circuit. During 1843 and the early part of 1844 he was engaged at Monrovia, but sailed for the United States, and was ordained deacon in Brooklyn, New York, 16 June, and, later on the same day, crossed over to New York and was ordained elder in the Mulberry street church, Bishop Janes officiating. In the same year he returned to Liberia. The next session of the conference appointed him presiding elder of the Cape Pahnas district. In 1851, by order of the missionary board, he was detailed to open an academy at Monrovia and superintend the mission there. In 1858 he visited the United States and was ordained missionary bishop at Perry, Wyoming County, New York, Bishops Janes and Baker officiating. Almost immediately he returned to Africa, and labored there for five years until his health failed, he returned to the United States by the advice of a physician, and died shortly afterward.
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